The Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid (V2G) trial, a project run by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and CrowdCharge to demonstrate how electric vehicles (EVs) can provide V2G services, has announced British Gas as its final energy partner.
Electric Nation is different to other V2G projects because it is using four different energy partners instead of just one. This means that the project is a more realistic simulation of a future world in which many streets will have a number of EVs using V2G chargers with energy suppliers that are diverse and of varying sizes.
Participants in the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid trial who are part of the British Gas and CrowdCharge proposition will earn rewards if they plug in their EV a specified number of times per month.
Twenty-five applicants to the Electric Nation V2G trial will be offered the opportunity to join the project with the British Gas and CrowdCharge proposition. Applicants will be required to switch electricity supplier to British Gas if they are not already with the company and to go onto the latest British Gas two-rate fixed ‘Electric Drivers’ (electricity-only) tariff for the one-year customer trial. This tariff has two different daily rates giving EV owners cheaper off-peak electricity between 12am – 5am every day. There is no export tariff for this proposition.
EV drivers will inform the CrowdCharge platform when they next need their car and how much energy (or how many miles) they will need for the next day. The first priority for CrowdCharge is to ensure these requirements are met. EVs are often plugged in for over 12 hours overnight but may only need an average of one to two hours of charge. This allows considerable time and flexibility to fit in the EV charging overnight.
With the British Gas and CrowdCharge proposition, for each three-month period during the one-year customer trial, the trial participant should complete two months with at least 15 full plug-in cycles (a full plug-in cycle means that the car is plugged in from 6pm to 5am), and one month with at least the minimum of 10 full plug-in cycles completed. In return, the participant can enjoy one of two chosen incentives. Halfway through the customer trial, the participant may be given the option to choose to switch to a different incentive if they wish. The British Gas reward options are:
1. A free Hive Hub, which connects Hive products so they can be controlled remotely with the Hive app on a smartphone, tablet or laptop. After 12 months of consistently meeting or exceeding the plug-in criteria the participant will receive a Hive Welcome Home Plan, which, in addition to the Hive Hub, includes two Hive Light Dimmable bulbs, a Hive Plug and a Hive Motion Sensor (worth £249). If however the participant only accumulates six or more months of consistently meeting or exceeding the plug-in requirements the participant will instead receive a three-pack of smart plugs (worth £117) if they select this reward option.
2. A monetary incentive of £30 quarterly (every three-month period) credited to the participant’s electricity bill.
Americo Lenza, portfolio director, British Gas Services & Solutions, which includes connected home products by Hive, said, “British Gas is thrilled to be named as a partner for the Electric Nation Vehicle to Grid project. This trial is all about putting our customers in charge of their energy future. We see a time when our cars, or even the humble hot water tank, can be used as an energy store for excess wind or solar power, storage that can then be discharged when the wind isn’t blowing. This not only helps the UK transition to a net zero future but means we can unlock savings for customers and help us all live more sustainably.”
Mike Potter, CEO of CrowdCharge, comments, “A key element of Electric Nation has been to include a diverse range of different energy partners, in order to more realistically simulate the vehicle to grid charging landscape in the future. We look forward to discovering participants’ views about the different approaches and tariffs of a range of energy suppliers.”
Over 650 EV drivers have applied to join Electric Nation so far. Recruitment remains open to ensure the project secures 100 participants that meet all the eligibility criteria, however the project will be closing to new applications soon, so anyone interested in being part of the trial should apply now.
• Must be resident in the Western Power Distribution (WPD) licence areas (East and West Midlands, South West and South Wales)
• Must have a Nissan EV with a battery capacity of at least 30kWh or more
• Need to have the vehicle until the end of the trial (was March 2022, now June 2022 for all new applicants. This falls in line with the new trial dates revised in February 2021)
• Need to have off-road parking
• Will use the CrowdCharge mobile app to manage charging
• May need to switch to a new energy tariff if required by their assigned project energy supplier
• May need to have a new smart meter put in/updated as part of the project participation.